Posted by: nupl | July 6, 2010

Lawyers Decry Israeli Boat Raid for Creating a “Chilling Effect” on International Aid to Countries with Conflict

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) today condemns the Israeli attack, in international waters, on the aid convoy headed to Gaza that left at least 19 civilians dead and dozens injured, and called on the international community to immediately penalize Israel.
NUPL Acting Secretary General Atty. Edre U. Olalia said in a statement, “The attack by Israel is patently illegal, because it was unprovoked and excessive. It is more so inhuman because they
attacked an international “Freedom Flotilla” bent on delivering aid to civilians in Palestine’s Gaza strip.

“The sheer size and brawn of the Israeli raiding team tells us that the attack was not only to stop the   delivery, but to stop all humanitarian aid deliveries in the future. The Israelis confronted the aid convoy in bad faith. They intend to send a chilling effect, a message that they do not want humanitarian aids to come in Palestine.”
He added, “The international community has a stake in this matter because this was done in international waters. Tolerating such act would further embolden Israel’s sense of impunity
and for sure, there will be a next time – perhaps more violent – if the international community does nothing about the attack.”

Atty. Olalia, who is also the President of the International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers (IAPL), explained that under International Law, the entitlement to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter is subject to the conditions of necessity and proportionality.

Under the policy of anticipatory self-defense, any nation facing a threat considered to be “instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment of deliberation,” is justified in launching a counter-attack to prevent any harm from happening.
Atty. Olalia said the Israeli attack fails to satisfy this criterion and thus, must be held liable for violating the UN charter. He also pushed the UN council to immediately penalize Israel for
what it did.  Israel is a charter member of the UN, while Palestine, which is not considered as a member state, sits in permanent observer mission.
Yesterday, the UN Security Council called for impartial, credible investigation of the Israeli boat raid. The Council requested the immediate release of the ships as well as the civilians
held by Israel. The council also called for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.
The council statement also reemphasized the importance of implementing U.N. Resolution 1860, which calls for the unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance to
Gaza’s 1.5 million residents. The flow of aid has been severely hampered by Israel’s three-year blockade on the Gaza Strip.  “Sanctions such as an embargo on aid or even UN military force may be used on Israel, a prominent violator of human rights and war criminal. The UN at large must also resist the pressure by allies US and the European Union against such measures. Otherwise Israel will continue on its rampage against other countries it deems threat to its
interests,” Atty. Olalia said.
Last year, a United Nations commissioned report by South African justice Richard Goldstone highlighted Israeli violations during the war in Gaza. Goldstone’s findings found both Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes during the conflict.  Atty. Olalia also noted that there might also be individual human rights violations. Reports have revealed that the lawyers for those in the flotilla were not given access to information about their clients, and are only being allowed access, for those in detention already, for three hours every day from 1:00-4:30 pm.
Yesterday, Israeli-licensed attorneys filed two habeas briefs: one is asking for to release the passengers and the boats, and the other asking for information on all of the passengers, because there has been a total blackout on where the passengers are, who was wounded and who was murdered.
The Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara and the European Campaign’s vessel Spendoni, part of the now-called “Freedom Flotilla”, were carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid in defiance of an Israeli embargo on Gaza. The convoy came from the UK, Ireland, Algeria, Kuwait, Greece and Turkey, and was comprised of about 700 people from 50 nationalities.

References:

Atty. Edre U. Olalia – 01975113373

Atty. Julius Matibag – 09279293089

Posted on 03 Jun 2010 at nupl.net

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